Decline of Power

Holland's maritime supremacy soon brought hostilities with England and France, both of which wanted the colonial trade, and with Portugal, which resented Dutch attacks on its colonies in Asia, Africa, and South America. The initial conflict, the First Anglo-Dutch War, 1652–54, was inconclusive. In 1654 Holland lost its foothold in Brazil to the Portuguese in an unrelated conflict. In 1664 the English seized New Netherland, Holland's North American possession. The loss was confirmed, after a second Anglo-Dutch war, 1665–67, in the Treaty of Breda.

In 1672 France allied with England in a new war with the Dutch. Holland was overrun by French troops, who were expelled later the same year under the leadership of Stadholder William II of Orange (who became King William III of England in 1689). England withdrew from the war in 1674. The war was ended in 1678 by the Treaty of Nijmegen. Holland suffered no territorial losses, but by this time both England and France had established colonial empires rivaling Holland's own.

Holland participated in the War of the Grand Alliance (1689–97) against France, and in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–14). The expense of these wars in money and effort weakened the country and hastened its decline. Throughout the 18th century Dutch trade, industry, and prosperity diminished steadily. Holland was involved in the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48), during which the stadholdership of the republic was made hereditary in the House of Orange.

In 1780–84 Holland was at war again with England, and lost possessions in the East and West Indies. In 1793 Revolutionary France declared war on Holland, overran the country, and in 1795 set up the Batavian Republic. Under Napoleon Holland became a kingdom, 1806–10, with Louis Bonaparte as monarch. It was annexed to France in 1810.